PrimeraDx teams with Quest for companion diagnostics

Matthew McManus, CEO of PrimeraDx

PrimeraDx, a 2012 Fierce 15 company, has hitched up with Quest Diagnostics ($DGX) to co-develop companion diagnostics, giving the company a major megaphone to attract Big Pharma deals.

Under the deal, Quest gets to use Primera's ICEPlex diagnostic development platform in lab tests conducted through its clinical trials business, targeting early-phase biomarker studies and drug development projects. Meanwhile, Primera gets the right to develop and market any in vitro companion diagnostics if those targeted therapies pick up FDA approval. From there, Quest can offer diagnostic information services to guide treatments using Primera's approved tests.

Neither company is disclosing financial details, but the two companies say they plan to start off focusing on cancer before working together on infectious diseases, genetics and other areas.

For Primera, partnering up with a giant like Quest is both an affirmation of the ICEPlex technology and a chance for the company to snag more companion diagnostics deals with drug developers, CEO Matt McManus said.

"Quest Diagnostics' remarkable strength in clinical diagnostics makes them a superb partner to maximize the value of the ICEPlex system for biomarker, drug and diagnostic development," McManus said in a statement. "We look forward to working with them and their clinical trials clients to hasten the discovery and development of drugs and companion diagnostics that can improve outcomes for patients with cancer and other diseases."

Primera bills ICEPlex as the world's only all-in-one diagnostic platform that can test for disparate disease targets without occupying half a lab. The platform combines polymerase chain reaction technology for DNA sequencing with capillary electrophoresis for molecular diagnostics in one benchtop unit, allowing it to test for targets like mRNA, miRNA, single-nucleotide polymorphisms and DNA.

Back in June, Primera signed up with Eli Lilly ($LLY) to develop companion tests for the drugmaker's cancer pipeline.

- read PrimeraDx's statement

Special Report: PrimeraDx - 2012 Fierce 15